Full-fledged nephrology dept finally a reality
LAHORE, Dec 26: The health system in Punjab has finally got an independent nephrology department after years of neglect of the vital facility.
A growing number of patients requiring renal-related treatment are likely to be accommodated after the facility was inaugurated at the Mayo Hospital on Wednesday.
The powers that be had even ignored the important declaration of international literature which says “every 10th patient admitted to a hospital needs opinion by a nephrologist.”
“Now we will be able to produce qualified and trained nephrologists at the newly-established unit to make up for the province-wide shortage of doctors of this specialty,” senior nephrologist Dr Muhammad Anees said at the inaugural ceremony. He said it was a milestone in the
history of the hospital as well as the medical profession.
Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique, King Edward Medical University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan, Mayo Hospital MS Dr Zahid Pervez, Professor of Medicine Dr Muhammad Irshad and other senior faculty members were also present.
“Nephrology was introduced for the first time in Pakistan by legendary Prof Dr Jafar Naqvi at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi,” recalled Dr Anees. Later, he said, Prof Tahir Shafi, “father of nephrology”, established the Nephrology Department at the Shaikh Zayed Hospital in 1985 when the institute was under the administrative control of the federal government. Since then the SZH remained the only medical institute which provided nephrology services in Punjab, he said.
Quoting a research conducted in Pakistan, Dr Anees said approximately 15 to 20 per cent of the patients of 40 years of age or older had a reduced kidney function. “The prevalence of diabetes in the subcontinent (about 20 per cent among them of 40 years of age or older) is two to three times more than was reported in Western countries and the said ratio had been projected to be triple over the next two decades,” said the senior nephrologist.
He said evidence indicated that chronic kidney disease developed in every third patient with diabetes.
“There are about 100 trained nephrologists in the country for a population exceeding 160 million compared with the USA which has more than 5,000 nephrologists for a population of about 300 million,” he said.
He deplored that huge investment had been made in the hemodialysis sector to provide temporary treatment to the patients with complete kidney failures but nothing was done for those whose kidneys could be saved by establishing nephrology units and producing qualified doctors.
“The government can’t afford expenses of dialysis (Rs40,000 a month) on a patient even by allocating half of the budget of the country,” Dr Anees claimed.
He further said: “It’s unfortunate that the quality of dialysis is not up to the mark due to shortage of trained personnel. For this purpose we will have to produce and develop more and more nephrology departments.”
He demanded that the higher authorities ensure sanctioning of posts, allocation of at least 10 posts of PGs for fellowship programme for nephrology department, immediate filling of two posts of SRs, a portable HD machine to manage trauma patients and 10 hemodialysis machines at the unit to make it a success.
Highlighting the importance of the specialty, Prof Dr Asad Aslam said the KEMU’s Syndicate and Academic Council had already accorded approval for the MD nephrology courses which would help produce more qualified nephrologists. “After seeking approval, the KEMU has
written to the PMDC for inspection to materialise this scheme as early as possible,” he said.
He said initially the institute had established the 20-bed nephrology unit which, in the second phase, would be extended to 40 beds.